The Rape of Europa

rape-of-europa

Following-up on an earlier post regarding the European parliamentary elections, I thought I'd say the something on the results. Here is the composition of the new parliament with the center-left bloc, the Party of European Socialists in light red and the conservative European People's Party in blue: 

europarliament2009

Most of the news outlets are presenting the results as evidence of an overall right-ward political shift across the continent.  The alternative left-wing analysis might be that a recession-radicalized populist electorate is punishing social democracy for its timidity and slow response to the  economic crisis.

As I see it, the real lesson of this low-turnout election is that  Europeans are not particularly interested in the European Parliament, despite that body's  ever-growing powers and responsibilities. Low turnouts  naturally favor an unrepresentative sample of the most motivated voters, which in this case includes some pretty unsavory characters.

It might be worth pointing out that the European right is much more ideologically  complicated than our good old GOP.  European conservatives are at once populist and elitist, with Christian Democratic, neoliberal and Gaullist influences in the mix.  Perhaps, collectively,  they more closely resemble the Republican Party of 50 years ago in their diversity.  Few right-wingers in Europe would support anything so barbarous as the death penalty, torture, or a "free market" approach to health care.

The low voter participation should alarm us because the European Parliament might be a prototype for future representative international institutions.

The left's most predictable argument is that voters will turn out once they see an exciting, transformative platform that will address their needs and concerns. But I think there is a more fundamental problem with representative government on such a vast scale that we have yet to figure out and resolve.  If, in many ways, Washington D.C. is far-removed from neighboring Baltimore, imagine how distant Strasbourg or Brussels must seem from a working class neighborhood in Lisbon or a little village in Lithuania.

I'm pretty skeptical of left-wing localism, especially with regards to economics, but the localist arguments against large-scale democracy can't be easily dismissed.  I think it's time for some brainstorming.


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Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

February 17, 2017 · $20.00 USD

Location: MayDay Space
Where: 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: Friday, February 17th at 6 PM to Sunday, February 19th to 4 PM

Political Context

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time—together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.

Key Deadlines

  • January 8th: Travel Scholarship for Air Travel (for application see below)
  • January 15th: Travel Scholarship for Non-Air Travel (ex: bus, car, train, etc.)
  • February 3rd: Early Bird Registration Ends - Tickets prices go up from $5 to $10
  • February 10th: Free Housing - We have limited free housing. You need to first register, then you will be sent an application for free housing.

Apply for a travel scholarship here! (First Deadline January 8, 2017)

Check out the working program (subject to change)